Who Is Considered a Qualified Driver?
A qualified driver is any person holding a Class A, B, C, D, E, F or G driver’s licence or its equivalent authorizing the holder to drive the motor vehicle, who qualifies as an accompanying driver and must occupy the seat beside the driver for the purpose of giving him or her instruction in driving the motor vehicle.
In Ontario, the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, sets out the rules and regulations applicable to drivers in Ontario. Novice drivers are also subject to additional restrictions and regulations under the Graduated Licensing System and Ontario Regulation 340/94. One such restriction is a prohibition from driving a motor vehicle unless accompanied by a qualified driver. Under the HTA and the regulations thereto, it is an offence for a Class G1 driver to operate a motor vehicle on a highway unaccompanied by a qualified driver.
Under the Highway Traffic Act and the regulations thereto, it is an offence for a Class G1 driver to operate a motor vehicle unaccompanied by a qualified driver. The offence is outlined in Section 5 of O. Reg. 340/94 wherein it is stated:
Novice Licence Conditions
5(1) The holder of a Class G1 driver’s licence may drive a Class G1 motor vehicle on a highway if a holder of a Class A, B, C, D, E, F or G driver’s licence or its equivalent authorizing the holder to drive the motor vehicle, who qualifies as an accompanying driver, occupies the seat beside the driver for the purpose of giving him or her instruction in driving the motor vehicle and the following additional conditions are met:
2. The accompanying driver’s blood alcohol concentration must be less than 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood while the novice driver is operating the motor vehicle.
(a) is a fully licensed driver in a Class G motor vehicle;
(b) has been licensed in Ontario or another jurisdiction for at least four years; and
(c) meets the applicable requirements of the Act and the regulations, including any requirement to wear corrective lenses but not including any requirement for any special or modified controls applicable to the accompanying driver’s licence. O. Reg. 340/94, s. 5 (2); O. Reg. 83/05, s. 4; O. Reg. 205/10, s. 2 (2).
What is the potential fine associated with a conviction for driving unaccompanied by a qualified driver?
The consequences of a conviction for driving on a prohibited highway can be severe and far-reaching. If convicted, a novice driver could face a fine ranging from $60 up to $500 plus court costs and victim fine surcharges.
Escalating Sanctions Penalties
What are the penalties associated with a conviction for driving unaccompanied by a qualified driver?
In addition to a monetary fine upon conviction, the novice driver will be subject to the applicable escalating sanctions penalties as follows:
- for a first occurrence the novice driver’s licence will be suspended for 30 days.
- for a second occurrence, the novice driver’s licence will be suspended for 90 days.
- for a third occurrence, the novice driver’s licence will be cancelled.
A licence suspension can affect a person’s ability to drive to work, school, or other important activities.
What are the insurance consequences associated with a conviction for driving unaccompanied by a qualified driver?
A conviction will also lead to significantly increased insurance premiums and/or policy cancellation and referral to a high-risk insurance provider. In many cases, maintaining or securing insurance will not be affordable. It may even affect a person’s ability to find or maintain employment.
In conclusion, driving unaccompanied by a qualified driver is a serious offence which can result in serious penalties and long-lasting consequences for those convicted. It is important for novice drivers to understand and comply with the rules and regulations applicable to new drivers and abide by the requirements of the Graduated Licensing System.
If you have been charged with the offence of Drive Unaccompanied By Qualified Driver, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. We can help you understand the law and your rights and can provide you with the best possible defence. In circumstances where a valid defence in Law does not exist, it may still be possible to avoid the escalating sanctions penalties and insurance consequences associated with the original offence by negotiating a favorable resolution.